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Realizing Smart Cities in the Home of the Fab Four

I’ll have my first chance to visit Liverpool this coming week.  I’ve been to Manchester, Preston and even Blackpool (several times, in fact) but never Liverpool.

I’m not visiting just to go to find Penny Lane or snap photos in front of The Cavern Club. I’ll be there do something a bit more contemporary – but less musical – namely, to be part of the Smart Cities Realized Summit which focuses on smart city case studies of real and deployed/deployable solutions from cities around the world. The summit is part of The International Business Festival which happens every two years in Liverpool, attracting 30,000 people from various parts of the world.

Sigma will be there because we’ve put forward two solutions for the Mayor’s Challenges, which is a competition to implement Smart City ideas by signing contracts with the City of Liverpool as well as share vital information with all the other cities in attendance.  The two areas we focused on were:

  • Smart Transport – How do we enable sustainable, low carbon, equitable travel in a city? How do we overcome current and future travel issues?
  • Ageing Population – How do we respond to the challenge of an ageing population? What changes does a city need to take into account? How can social care be delivered more effectively?

In developing the response to these challenges, two points jumped out when it comes to Smart City applications.

First, cities are going to be dealing with a lot of data – and I mean a lot of data – as they start to create and then deliver smart services to their citizens.  From our experience with service providers, too much data can easily become a problem that can get out of hand.  It also, conversely, presents a great opportunity, if managed well, to gain insight from data to improve operations and services themselves. Definitely, cities must be aware of and be ready to manage a greatly increased set of data.

Second, as technology advances to enable more and more services, there’ll be lots of new technology that needs to be co-ordinated by cities, who probably don’t have a great deal of expertise in doing so.  Thus, cities will buy services and equipment from communications services providers and cloud services providers like AWS to enable smart services – all of which still needs to be understood and managed.

The core of our solution for Smart Cities, Sigma Catalog, excels at the understanding, design and management of such services, especially in a federated model, making services shareable among all people within a city administration. In the use cases of transport and ageing population, we’re proving that Sigma Catalog will help them co-ordinate and figure out what services city administrators have access to and what they can offer their citizens, and then innovate on top of those. Just like we’ve done with communication services providers around the world.

I’m excited to finally see Liverpool (sorry Blackpool) and I’m excited to find out if we’ll be able to work with the city of Liverpool to trial and prove some of the Smart City use cases.

Drew Jordan
Director of Product Architecture
Sigma Systems